John Dante is seventeen when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and he wants to fight for his country. But then he falls head over heels for Ginny Burton, who is against all war, and his beliefs are suddenly questioned. Rather than be judged a traitor or a coward, though, John enlists–a decision that changes his life forever.
I just finished this book for the first time. It was interesting. It wasn’t the best war book or the deepest one either, but it had a lot of heart in it. There were many passages I loved in this book, and even though it’s not really for anyone under the age of 14, I think this book is a very valuable introduction to the horrors of war and the feel of the time of John Dante. I think I need to read this book again, analyze it more carefully. I just get the feeling in the back of my mind that I’m missing something, and I can’t wait to find out what it is.
There were some things to this book I didn’t quite understand, like the symbolism of castles. I’m sure if I think about it I’ll figure it out, but it didn’t really make sense to me. Some things I can think really deeply about, some things are a little bit harder. I feel like there’s something more to them than what I’ve judged.
This is a lyrical little book, not even 100 pages, that is honest and will leave you humbled. I read it just for kicks in the morning when I accidently brought with me two books I had already read, but it was definitely worth it. I’m almost glad that I forgot my other books. There were many parts to this book that I really enjoyed, a lot of concepts that were brought to my mind more because of his book. Worth a read.
Memorable passages (and notes):
Page 12, My best friend, Tony, phoned me about an hour after the broadcast. “I’m joining up,” he said. Tony, who loved the head cheerleader and vanilla malts.
Page 13, Every man I knew wanted to fight. My father, all my uncles, the mailman (who was already gone), the grocer (who was packing), the boys in my senior class. Everyone.
These two pages really struck me. It shows a lot of character and sympathy for the people of war. The desire people have to protect and defend their country. Everyone was going to help the war effort. The mailman, the grocer, both of which had probably never been in combat before, boys who were just that–boys, packing up and leaving to fight. That really amazed me, Cynthia Rylant’s efforts to show people just how determined people were. How many lives were lost, the bravery of the human will.
Page 24, “So, you want to go to the movies sometime?” I asked Ginny as we walked. Brazenly. Fearlessly. I had a hell of a lot more to fear than a pretty girl’s rejection. I didn’t feel the luxury of time and subtle courtship; I had to start things now.
I felt that this was a refreshingly quirky yet honest and brave statement I really appreciated. There were many bits of humor to this story and I found myself smiling as a I read it.
Page 44, Though I saw Ginny’s father only once–on a Sunday afternoon when I happened upon him and his boys throwing a ball in the street–I believed he was a good man. I thought him good that particular day because, exhausted as he must have been and wanting only to sleep all of a Sunday, he played instead with his children. I thought him good because he wanted a house for his family and was willing to labor like an animal to secure one. And I thought him good because he was not miserly and gave a bit of his money to Ginny so she might buy herself a new blouse or hair ribbons and so look pretty for me, whom he knew she wanted very much to please.
I think this statement says a lot about heroes. Heroes who live among us every day and will never be recognized, but nevertheless are heroes in their own right. It meant a lot to me, and I can’t wait to read this book again.
A great read.
pg count for the hardbacj: 97